In the study published in the journal eLife, scientists found that zebrafish are able to produce a chemical called gadusol that protects against UV radiation. They successfully reproduced the method that zebrafish use by expressing the relevant genes in yeast. The findings open the door to large-scale production of gadusol for sunscreen and as an antioxidant in pharmaceuticals.
“The fact that the compound is produced by fish, as well as by other animals including birds, makes it a safe prospect to ingest in pill form,” says Professor Taifo Mahmud, lead author of the study.
However, further studies will be needed to test if and how gadusol is absorbed, distributed, and metabolised in the body to check its efficacy and safety.
Gadusol was originally identified in cod roe and has since been discovered in the eyes of the mantis shrimp, sea urchin eggs, sponges, and in the dormant eggs and newly hatched larvae of brine shrimps. It was previously thought that fish can only acquire the chemical through their diet or through a symbiotic relationship with bacteria.
Marine organisms in the upper ocean and on